Hello friends and family, 

In the past few days we have had a real sense of what our time here in Romania will look like. As of today the weather has cooled down significantly, which has been much appreciated. However, it is supposed to warm up come next week. 

On Monday we got to be guinea pigs for a brand new team-building activity. Paul and Tanya informed us of our goal: to traverse the village, interpret clues, complete challenges, and eventually make our way back to the church. The problem? We were quite limited in our abilities.  Some were blindfolded, some couldn't speak (or only whisper to certain others), some had to be piggy-backed, and some had their ankles tied together three-legged style, and a couple had no limitations at all. Once we got a feel for what we were able (and allowed) to do, and once our last team member arrived a few minutes late (a limitation), we settled into a rhythm and completed the task in record time! 

The activity was followed by debriefing, then a fairly detailed explanation of what VBS would look like.  That part was very helpful for those of us who hadn't been here before.  We also settled who would lead various stations, and generally got prepped for the afternoon. Ephesians 4:16-17 was impressed upon us as we were challenged to speak the truth in love, knowing that relationship is a process that requires maturing, encouraging and growing together in love. This was humbling to reflect upon as this is something we strive for within our daily lives, as a team and as we serve. 

After lunch we embarked on our first VBS adventure! We packed the vehicles with sports equipment, craft supplies and snacks and caravaned to Bogdand, about 40 minutes away on a washboard-type road, riddled with car-sinking potholes. We have a new appreciation for the roads back home and are thankful for our capable drivers! 

The Baptist church in Bogdand has only five members and no kids, but we had around 25 kids show up for our first afternoon of VBS. During VBS the kids transitioned through sports, crafts and snack time before moving on to teaching time. The teenage boys of Szentkiraly performed some skits to demonstrate the attributes of love described in 1 Corinthians 13. To reinforce the topic of God's love, the parable of the lost sheep was told with the help of children present during VBS. After, Paul gave the message, and provided an analogy to help the children understand God's unconditional love for them. As the first day of VBS came to a close, we travelled back to the village of Szentkiraly where we were provided with a delicious and filling dinner. 

Tuesday was very similar, down to the morning meeting. The only real difference in the VBS was that we replaced some of the icebreakers with the famous Waldo activity, in which we all dressed up and spread out, then groups of kids chased us down and/or completed challenges to earn our signatures (and possibly our respect). On both days, the Bogdand church fed us before we left, which was lovely.

On Wednesday we headed out to Camp Falcon Rock!! Some of the Youth at Ardo village came and joined us for the day. The day started off well, with testimonies from Tamas and Tunde, describing what led them to serve at the camp. They described to us five main goals and purpose for the camp. 

  1. Evangelism - that the gospel would be shared with all who come to camp. 
  2. Leadership and discipleship - that Camp Falcon Rock would be a place that develops and equips both current and future leaders in Romania. 
  3. Education - through the services and opportunities provided the camp would be a place of learning and growth in English, Life Skills, Bible knowledge and more. 
  4. Social Development - a place that offers summer camps, conseling services and mentorship for all. 
  5. Connecting Hub - that the camp would be a place that brings people together.

Following this we went for a walk around the camp property, lead by Paul and Tanya. They described their vision for the camp and we all prayed for the property and that the camp will ultimately be used for God's purpose. We visited the different locations of where the future buildings would be including the staff housing, sports field, chapel, main lodge and cabins. 

After this we headed out to play a game that was new to most of the Romanians...kickball (aka soccer baseball)!! Teams were Canada versus Romania, and we had so much fun watching them learn and play the game, but even more fun winning. :) It was awesome. We finished the afternoon off with a wonderful time worshiping God and hearing testimonies from Miriam and Jenna. Shauna lead us in a devotion about God's love and we wrapped up with more singing. We headed back to Szentkiraly for supper and have since then been enjoying a wicked game of glow in the dark badminton.  As this was Joanne's birthday, we sang to her three times throughout the day (in two languages), and even got cake after supper.

We appreciate your continued prayers, and will be in touch again soon! As we go into the next few days please pray that we would fix our eyes not on our own ideas, thoughts and wishes, but remain humble as we strive for that of a maturing, encouraging and growing community of love. 

Blessings, 

Team Romania 2017